Hubble photographs the supernova house

In the center of the Hubble telescope image below, the spiral galaxy UGC 678 dominates. It is located at a distance of 260 million light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Pisces.

Galaxy UGC 678 (Hubble photo). Source: ESA/Hubble & NASA, C. Kilpatrick, R. J. Foley

Like our Milky Way, UGC 678 is a spiral galaxy with a bar. It is turned to us “face”, which allows us to examine its spiral structure in all details. The Hubble image also highlights a smaller galaxy, which we see from the edge. Thanks to the angle, it seems that it divides the upper part of UGC 678 in half.

The image of UGC 678 was taken during a study aimed at the exploration of stellar evolution. Like humans, luminaries have their own life cycle. They are born, grow up, age, and eventually die. Some stars do this in a particularly spectacular way, ending their lives in dazzling supernova flares.

In 2020, UGC 678 became the home for such an event. The researchers decided to use Hubble to find out the type of dead star. In total, the telescope performed two series of observations of the galaxy. One of them used an ACS camera, the other used a WFC3 camera. The presented image of UGC 678 was taken during one of these observation sessions.

Earlier we talked about how the Hubble telescope photographed the “jellyfish galaxy”.

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